Lavender Vinegar: Part Ingredient, Part Cleaning Agent

Vinegar infused with lavender is a staple in my kitchen. I like to add a dash to salad dressings and marinades because it's so flavor-packed and adds a faintly floral touch. It's easy to make and pretty to look at in my kitchen window. Of course most any herb works nicely in vinegar, but I'm partial to lavender. I start with a base of white wine vinegar and, depending on mood, alternate between using fresh, leafy stems or just the flowers. A bonus to using the flowers: the vinegar becomes pale pink over time - can you see it in the bottle on the left? For the record, you can't go wrong when making lavender vinegar - I usually just eyeball the amount of vinegar and add a few of the choicest stems of lavender or other herb. For the best flavor, cover and let stand at room temperature for a couple of weeks, or longer.

Besides its culinary use, lavender vinegar can be used around the house for spring cleaning, which brings me to another point: It is about as green as it gets when it comes to cleaning naturally. For cleaning countertops and windows, lavender vinegar leaves a clean, fresh smell. Enjoy!